Robinson Jeffers: A Bibliography of Criticism, 1950-1999

Robert Brophy

The following bibliography is certainly not exhaustive, though some attempt was made to make it so. Inevitably some significant articles and book chapters have been inadvertently missed. Minor reviews have been routinely ignored though historically significant ones and some review essays are included. Items judged slight or not contributive by Alex Vardamis’s The Critical Reputation of Robinson Jeffers (1972) have been omitted. Jeffers’s own critical writings are entered (Themes in My Poems and Poetry, Gongorism, and a Thousand Years, for instance) as have a few of his notes published in Shebl’s In This Wild Water (1976) and Bennett’s Stone Mason of Tor House (1966). Jeffers’s thoughts on various literary subjects found in Ridgeway’s Selected Letters (1968) are not mined. Ph.D. dissertations and masters’ theses have been entered alongside articles. Both Vardamis’s Critical Reputation and Boswell’s Robinson Jeffers and the Critics (1986) proved useful auxiliary works. Both provide evaluations; Vardamis is stronger, especially in identifying reviewer’s approach (Marxist, Classics scholar, New Critical, Jungian, Freudian, etc.); Boswell provides over eleven years more coverage. Boswell’s abstract-length summaries are frequently referenced at the end of citations by the letter “B” followed by a page number as in, for example, “B33.” In Critical Reputation, Vardamis’s entries are accessed chronologically and according to a threefold division of reviews, articles, and books; individual authors are available through his index. Boswell’s entries are arranged alphabetically; her work provides two short indexes, one for co-authors, editors, translators, and illustrators; the other according to subject.

The following listings contain duplicates: a decision was made to include new publications each year, and these often constitute new appearances of old articles, for instance in a gathering of essays. Thus the total number of articles, chapters, and books is not an accurate indication of the sum of unique contributions. The bibliography relies largely on the prior work of Vardamis, supplemented by that of Boswell, the annual Western American Literature bibliography, the index to Robinson Jeffers Newletter (RJN) 1–100, ongoing MLA coverage, and much independent investigation. Serious researchers should be warned that entries need to be double-checked against the original articles lest any errors in transcription be compounded. Rarely, part of a citation will be missing, indicating that in cases where complete information was relatively inaccessible the compiler felt it better to present an incomplete citation rather than none at all.

Somewhere along into the process of compiling, it seemed useful to attach short annotations to the entries, many of them being condensations of abstracts provided by others. These brief phrasings are certainly inadequate and may even be misleading; they are no more than poor indicators of content. Yet, judged useful toward selecting items for whatever purpose, these summaries will be augmented as the bibliography is prepared for the Internet.